On 2/3/2018 2:59 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Sat, Feb 03, 2018 at 02:43:32PM -0800, Lawrence Crowell wrote:
It is interesting in some ways. However, it involves speculations on things
we have no knowledge of.
The idea involves these filters. The one "behind us" involves the barrier
to intelligent life similar to us. There are few examples of brainy animals
similar to us. Cetaceans have large brains and clearly their songs contain
complex information important to them. It is not clear that this is
equivalent to complex thought such as mathematics. The other filter
involves post-ET development where such life is limited by either
self-extermination or the limits of light speed and the unapproachable
scale of putative interstellar flight.
I suspect planets with complex life above that of prokaryotic-like life are
few in number per galaxy. It is hard to know how even prokaryotic-like life
starts. The ribosome is a complex of RNA with polypeptides, and this thing
is fairly universal. As yet we are not sure how this came about. So it
could be that the life bearing planets are already extremely rare. This
would make planets with complex life most likely very rare, and then up the
ladder the occurrence of intelligent life exceedingly rare.
The occurrence of life might be a case of what is called hard emergence.
Soft emergence is something like the emergence of chemistry from the
quantum mechanics of atoms. Strong emergence is the occurrence of entirely
different principles, where this is not an established scientific concept.
This is of course a completely unknown territory. How life emerged is one
of the great scientific questions.
We should hopefully get some more experimental data shortly. If life
is found on Mars, we can examine its genetic code. If the code is
identical, or very similar to that on Earth, then that supports the
panspermia-like proposal of Paul Davies. It it is markedly different,
it will support multiple indepent origins, and ubiquity of
life. Likewise would finding life on Jovian/Saturnian moons. OTOH, if
these world prove barren of life, it strengthens the rarity of life in
These experiments all sound feasible within the next 50 years or so.
I agree, and I hope they are done sooner than that so I'll be around to
hear the result. But even if life is different and hence ubiquitous, it
won't show that intelligent life is ubiquitous, and it won't make life
beyond the solar system anymore accessible.
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